I want Meditation

I “Want” Meditation

By Julia Madden Bozarth, MS, MA, LCPC
Photograph by  Ji-Elle (Own work) CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Several years ago, my daughter went to Korea for 15 months. It was a real test of my belief that she could be anyone she wanted to be. I was both proud and terrified. As parents, we all try to provide a safe environment for our children. We urge them to be themselves. We try to raise them to be self-reliant and get an education. She did all this.

But, the reality is … I didn’t want her to be an English teacher in Korea. She was given a salary and an apartment. She intended to save the salary for graduate school. It was the experience of a lifetime. So, the problem. SHE LIVED IN SOUTH KOREA! Yes, email and Skype are great. But, to say that I missed my daughter is an understatement. And, missing her was only half of it. I was worried sick. So many “what ifs.” So,

  1. I had to pull myself together.
  2. I had to think about was best for my daughter… not, me.
  3. I had to practice what I preach. I found my self-talk to be:
    • “What if she gets sick?”
    • “What if she is injured?”
    • “What if there is a disaster?”
    • “What if she gets lost in the jungles hiking?” (Yes, I thought that!)
    • “What if she’s unhappy?”
    • “What if she is traumatized?”

The list went on and on. So, I thought long and hard on what I wanted for my daughter. I started to visualize wonderful things. I started to say to myself:

  • “I want my daughter to be happy.”
  • “I want my daughter to be safe.”
  • “I want my daughter to have an amazing experience.”
  • “I want my daughter to be surrounded by trustworthy people.”

I continued to think these things. And, when I was particularly lonely for her I would focus on wanting her to know that she is loved. I said these things aloud on several occasions. As I did, I felt my breathing slow. I felt my heart-rate slow. I felt my blood pressure go down. I felt the knot in my stomach loosen. And, the I WANT MEDITATION was born.

I use this technique with anyone struggling with anxious, stressful, and even angry thoughts. I ask the client to tell me what they want. Sometimes, it is difficult for a client to understand that they are focusing on what they don’t want . Anxiety feeds anxiety. Stress feeds stress. Anger feeds anger. Depression feeds depression. I am not recommending false-positive self-talk. This is not about “thinking positively” it’s about focusing on what you want instead of what you don’t want.

Eventually, we can train ourselves to think:

  • “I want to be calm.”
  • “I want my heart rate slow down.”
  • “I want to be a good parent.”
  • “I want to be loved.”
  • “I want to be trustworthy.”
  • “I want to spend time with trustworthy people.”
  • “I want to recover.”

The I WANT MEDITATION can be a powerful tool. As we become more aware of our thinking, as we become more mindful of our desires, we can address our concerns productively.

So, my daughter returned to the states. She was healthy. She was safe. A new technique was developed to assist in anxious thoughts and ruminations. And, I have spent almost a decade teaching countless clients this practice. My daughter? She went to graduate school in Europe for 2 years. I only cried in the airport.

Emotional Eating

Emotional Eating

Julia Madden Bozarth, M.A., M.S., L.C.P.C.

Are you really hungry? What do you really need? I have a theory. If we only eat when we are physically hungry – we wouldn’t have a weight problem. Of course, there are a few rare exceptions. Some people really do have glandular problems. But, they are extremely unusual. The second part of my theory is that we must stop eating when we are no longer hungry. Too many of us eat until we are uncomfortably full. The “clean your plate” mentality can lead to excess body fat over time.

The problem is, we sometimes eat for emotional reasons. Food can be a comfort. Food can be a numbing agent. Food can fill time. Some common triggers for snacking/grazing and overeating are boredom, frustration, loneliness, anxiety, depression, or habit. Some victims of trauma can become obsessed with food. This obsession can lead to eating disorders and morbid obesity. But, most emotional eaters are relatively healthy.

Most emotional eaters tend to put other people ahead of themselves. But, they can always count on food to be there for them. How do we look at emotional eating? It is different for everyone. Some cases need a minor adjustment. Others need to address eating habits and emotional awareness for quite a while. The majority of our emotional eating clientele is female. But, it only takes a moment to look around and see all the overweight men around you.

All of us know that if we eat more calories than we burn, we gain weight. I am suggesting that if you didn’t eat for emotional reasons, you would – over time – lose weight with very little effort. I am not suggesting a diet. As a matter of fact, I am discouraging it. I like to recommend the book Diets Don’t Work, by Bob Schwartz, PhD. The original edition was written in the 1980’s. I haven’t found better.

In our sessions, I work with clients to identify emotions and design emotional safety plans specific to each need. Habits are dissected. Relationships and boundaries are examined. Living life to the fullest is encouraged. Many people put off living their lives until they resolve issues (including weight). I ask them to live today accepting where they are – at this moment. Once acceptance is understood, changes can be made.

Working with emotional eaters is fascinating. It is so rewarding to assist clients in understanding that food is for nourishment. It is more rewarding to watch clients realize that they can really eat what they want – if they are physically hungry. Once the client accepts these premises and works toward emotional and physical nourishment, gradual weight loss is almost inevitable. I have seen emotional eaters lose over 50 pounds in a year. The wonderful thing is that they are not on a diet. Changes are flexible and permanent.

You May Already Know a Cutter

You May Already Know a Cutter

By Julia Madden Bozarth, MA, MS, LCPC

As OPTIONS (our adolescent and family counseling program) continues to evolve, our counselors see an increasing number of teens who self-harm. Self-Harm Syndromes include cutting, scarring, slashing, and burning. The degree of severity is closely related to the client’s perception of emotional pain. These behaviors provide relief from psychological pain.

Our most common example is the teenager who scratches, picks or rubs erasers – to the point of small burn spots – on arms, legs, and stomach. Some of these teens burn and cut themselves in non-lethal ways. This behavior may protect the client from a sense of abandonment, loneliness and isolation.

It is not usually recommended that these particular clients be hospitalized. The hospital may provide the social group and support the client is looking for, thereby increasing the potential for more self-harming behaviors. These behaviors usually dissipate with age. Our office provides an emotionally validating environment in which to express pain and explore healthy ways of coping with social and emotional pressures.

More extreme forms of self-harm may include extensive use of razors, glass, or lighters for control of negative emotions. These clients risk addiction to the particular method of self-harm. They often find it impossible to self-soothe and see coping skills as outside of themselves (externalized). In many of these cases, clients have experienced trauma in childhood that they were unable to understand and formed maladaptive behaviors as a way of managing their rage. This client requires consistency and often responds well to Dialectical Behavior Therapy combined with Cognitive Behavior Therapy. Often, medications are part of the ongoing treatment for clients experiencing this level of self-harm.

All of these self-harm behaviors may increase if the client experiences an increase in anxiety or depressive symptoms. Because of the potential for addiction, medications prescribed by physicians or psychiatrists are usually in the form of SSRIs (antidepressants) such as wellbutrin or lexapro. Generally, tranquilizers and anti-anxiety agents are not recommended. The goal of therapy is to provide coping and self-soothing techniques that work with anti-depressants for the management of symptoms.

Our goal – our technique – is to “go to the pain.” The behavior serves a purpose. Please note: serving a purpose does not mean that the client does it ‘on purpose.’ The validating environment in our office provides the atmosphere for the client to explore alternatives and painful triggers.

Finally, in some rare cases, the situation can be life threatening. In cases of psychosis, the client may “hear voices.” These voices may be what are called command persecutory delusions. Command persecutory delusions (voices) may tell the client to walk into traffic or cause serious permanent damage to their bodies. In these cases, hospitalization and medical stabilization is mandatory.

For more information or questions about someone you may suspect of self-harming behaviors, contact CSI.

2015 EOM Recipients

CSI Presents Extraordinary Ordinary Men Award Recipients

Bloomington, Illinois – Oct. 15, 2015 – Collaborative Solutions Institute, Inc. (CSI) recognized and honored the men who were nominated for the 2015 Extraordinary/Ordinary Men of the Year at an awards dinner on October 15, 2015, at the Carol A. Reitan Conference Center, Uptown Marriott Hotel. These awards celebrate men who volunteer their time and make a positive impact on others’ lives and this community.

Award recipients for 2015 are Frank Beck, Hank Campbell, Paul Harmon, Craig Luchtefeld, Michael Predmore, Bishop Larry Taylor and Bill Tolone. You can read more about these men below.

Frank Beck: Dr. Beck has influenced this community, the state, and the world in countless ways, including his work in the Sociology Department at ISU, and even more importantly through his world-spanning work with the Stevenson Center and his work with Peace Corps volunteers. He has provided data to the Criminal Justice Coordination Council, worked on the Normal Uptown Redevelopment, the Economic Development Council, and the West Bloomington Revitalization Partnership. Dr. Beck volunteers his time with the Boy Scouts, at St. Mary’s, washing dishes at Chef’s for PATH, and helps local projects such as the Green Grocery and Ecology Action Center. He is a quiet leader, devoted to his family, his faith community, and the education and development of children and young adults.

Hank Campbell: Dr. Campbell has an extensive resume as an educator and community volunteer. He is a dedicated member of the Normal Rotary Club, serving on the Board of Directors as Sergeant at Arms, has been recognized as a Paul Harris Fellow and is involved with the Friends Forever Program to help promote world peace and understanding. Dr. Campbell has also volunteered for Habitat for Humanity for the past 21 years, serving as project director for construction for ISU/IWU College Houses. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the M.J. Rhymer Family Dry Grove Nature Preserve, is Treasurer for the West Bloomington Revitalization Project, and is a volunteer and construction director for Labyrinth Outreach Service for Women. His efforts personify a true community leader.

Paul Harmon: Mr. Harmon has a long and rich history of commitment to his community and is considered a leader among leaders. He has served as chair for the Town of Normal Planning Commission, Mayor for the Town of Normal and has been involved in Board of Director roles for the Chamber of Commerce, Economic Development Council, and the Convention and Visitors Bureau. Also, he has provided board service for many not-for-profit organizations. Currently, Mr. Harmon gives his time to the Illinois Prairie Community Foundation, where he has been a member of the Board of Directors for seven years. As a member of the First Presbyterian Church of Normal, Mr. Harmon chairs the Gifts and Memorials Committee.

Craig Luchtefeld: Mr. Luchtefeld is a community leader with such organizations as Autism McLean County, Kiwanis, and the Multicultural Leadership Program. He helped to create a Bloomington, IL Aktion Club, a club that provides adults living with disabilities an opportunity to develop initiative, leadership skills and to serve their communities. Mr. Luchtefeld is always willing to volunteer his technology skills by providing tech mentoring to local organizations. This year, Craig has embarked on a year of service. He inspires his social media followers by posting his efforts at #Volunteer365 every single day. He is an individual who lives his life, fully embracing his values, to advance humanity in more ways than one.

Michael Predmore: Mr. Predmore personally believes in giving back to his community through church, advocacy, and legislative leadership. He has professionally been involved in the support of people with intellectual/developmental disabilities for more than 20 years. At Marcfirst, Mr. Predmore has worked diligently to help people with developmental disabilities find employment in our community. His efforts have resulted in a +60% employment rate for those supported at Marcfirst, compared to a national average of 10%. He currently serves on the Association of People Supporting Employment First (APSE) Board to develop best practices for employment, supports youth mission trips, and worked to establish Chris’ Law, giving college students the opportunity to sign a waiver to share critical mental health information with their parents while on campus.

Bishop Larry Taylor: As the founder of Center for Hope International Ministries, Bishop Taylor impacts the lives of hundreds of individuals through a message of faith, hope, love and balance. He has established the Center for Hope Food Pantry Network, which is available to whoever may need assistance. Annually, Bishop Taylor hosts several conferences and summits to empower, motivate and inspire men from every walk of life. He is a graduate of the first Leadership McLean County class and serves on the Board of Directors for the University of Illinois Extension and the Immanuel Health Care Clinic. In addition to his civic involvement, Bishop Taylor also volunteers at Habitat for Humanity and delivers food to the homebound here in our community.

Bill Tolone: Mr. Tolone has volunteered with McLean County Habitat for Humanity since 2004, currently serving as a Project Director. He is recognized each year for contributing the greatest number volunteer hours among all volunteers. In addition to his volunteer efforts with Habitat, Mr. Tolone also volunteers at the Clare House food pantry. Rain or shine, you will find Mr. Tolone bagging groceries, actively engaging people in line, and handing out books to families. Passionate about the Free Little Library, he collects books from garage sales to replace those he’s given away. Mr. Tolone never misses a shift, except to help with the Wesley United Methodist mission trip to build and repair the orphanage in Nicaragua. Humbly and quietly, he goes about helping others with no need for a reward or thank you. For more information on the event and the recipients, please visit collaborativesolutions.org.

CSI is a non-profit organization devoted to providing specialized counseling solutions to families and individuals struggling with a variety of psychological and emotional issues. CSI is committed to providing services for those who have limited access to professional help.

Congratulations to the 2015 EOM Nominees

Congratulations to the 2015 Nominees!

CSI is excited to announce the nominees for the 2015 Extraordinary Ordinary Men of the Year Awards!

  • Grant Anderson
  • Merlin Anderson
  • Frank Beck
  • Bruce Bergethon
  • Anand Bhende
  • Robert Bosquez
  • Kevin Bradley
  • Hank Campbell
  • Phil Eaton
  • John Evans
  • George Gordon
  • Jim Howard
  • Craig Luchtefeld
  • Mike McCurdy
  • Michael Predmore
  • Mandava V Rao
  • Larry Taylor
  • Bill Tolone
  • Doan Winkel
For more information, including tickets and sponsorship details, visit the event page!
CSI to Present Extraordinary Ordinary Man Awards

CSI to Present Extraordinary Ordinary Man Awards


Bloomington, Illinois – September 28, 2015 – Collaborative Solutions Institute, Inc. (CSI) will recognize and honor the men who have been nominated for the 2013 Extraordinary/Ordinary Man of the Year at an awards dinner on October 15, 2015, at 5 p.m., at the Carol A. Reitan Conference Center, in the Bloomington-Normal Marriott Hotel. These awards are an opportunity to celebrate men who share their time selflessly and who make a positive impact on others’ lives and their communities.

The award recipients will be chosen from the following nominated outstanding men: Grant Anderson, Merlin Anderson, Frank Beck, Bruce Bergethon, Anand Bhende, Robert Bosquez, Kevin Bradley, Hank Campbell, Phil Eaton, John Evans, George Gordon, Paul Harmon, Jim Howard, Craig Luchtefeld, Mike McCurdy, Mike Predmore, Mandava V Rao, Larry Taylor, Bill Tolone and Doan Winkel.

Tickets are available for online purchase through the CSI website for $50 each or a table may be purchased for $350 at www.collaborativesolutions.org.

For more information on the event, please visit www.collaborativesolutions.org.

CSI is a non-profit organization devoted to providing specialized counseling solutions to families and individuals struggling with a variety of psychological and emotional issues. CSI is committed to providing services for those who have limited access to professional help.


Eating Disorder Services In Bloomington

Eating Disorder Services In Bloomington

Written by Jim Strauss, L.C.P.C. and Julia Madden Bozarth, L.C.P.C.

Disordered Eating and Changes that Heal

When life seems out-of-control, extreme dieting, binge eating, and emotional stuffing with ‘comfort’ foods sometimes give us a strange sense of control. The problem is that the behavior we use for that sense of control can take on a life of its own and lead to serious eating disorders, obesity and health problems, or trigger depression and anxiety disorders. Eating behaviors can become as addictive as alcohol or pain medication. But, unlike alcohol or pain meds, total abstinence is not an option with food. We must eat to live. We all have eating habits. The good news is that habits can be changed. Better yet, eating habits can be changed in Bloomington-Normal with the help of counselors specializing in eating-disorders at Collaborative Solutions Institute also known as CSI.

Have you ever felt like the number on your scale runs your life? Do you judge your personal sense of success by what you weigh? Remember, numbers on a scale are not a value judgment. Disordered eating as we prefer to think of it may include rigid dieting, extreme exercise regimes, starvation/malnutrition and binge/purging behaviors, emotional-eating and comfort food over-eating. At CSI, we see the “big picture.” Many people feel badly about themselves and use food to control intense feelings of low self-esteem, anger, shame, loneliness, sadness, frustration, anxiety, depression and feelings of being overwhelmed.

Let’s face it; issues of weight can be overwhelming and lead to unhealthy motivations. Here at CSI, we understand the emotional needs that disordered eating satisfy. We also understand that motivation to change can fluctuate dramatically based upon the intensity of present stressors and depths of past wounds. It isn’t uncommon for us to see some people struggle with a combination of unhealthy coping behaviors. Our “big picture” approach evaluates other life-issues such as family of origin history, relationship trauma, and substance use, just to name a few, to guide clients towards changes that heal.

Support Critical to Success

Resistance to take the first step towards treatment and to stick with it is common. Often, it is the family member or trusted friend who is helpful in ensuring that someone who is ill gets the needed care. The following is a brief and accurate screen to help determine if you or someone you know needs help:

  • Do you make yourself sick because you feel uncomfortably full?
  • Do you worry you have lost control over how much you eat?
  • Have you recently lost more that 15 pounds in a three month period?
  • Do you believe yourself to be fat when others say you are too thin?
  • Would you say that food dominates your life?

Steps Towards Changes that Heal

The good news is that treatment is available for disordered eating. Healthy weight can be restored. The sooner diagnosis and treatment begins the better the outcomes are likely to be.

CSI offers a comprehensive treatment plan for eating disordered clients involving therapy and counseling. We are located at 200 W. Front St., Suite 400A, Bloomington, IL 61701, (309) 828-2860.

*Morgan, J.F., Lacey, J.H., & Luck, A. (2002, April). Validation of the SCOFF questionnaire for case detection of eating disorders in primary care. Paper presented at the International Conference of Eating Disorders of the Academy for Eating Disorders, Boston, MA.